So it wasn’t so long ago that I told a tale of how I’m a man who struggles with vices. My vices, I like to think I have them under control. But you never really can tell, can you? Sure, it’s easy to put up a brave face when others are around. When I’m with the wife and kids, I’m a macho muchacho, and I keep those vices under foot. But it’s a daily struggle. Day by day, one day at a time, that sort of thing.
I’ve heard it said that it’s what you do when no one is watching that defines you. If that’s true, then I have more work to do. Coming clean is important for growth when it comes to dealing with our personal failings.
I have something to confess.
The other day…I wandered into Target…by myself…and I succumbed to weakness.
I spent money on a bunch of useless crap!
Yes, earlier this summer, I detailed the time I bought the NECA $6.99 Superhero blind bag for no good reason other than to do it! Just because sometimes I really like spending my hard earned money on stuff I realize is totally useless. It’s fun! It’s like gambling, but even more useless! Still fun! You have silly stuff lying about afterwards!
The last time out, for under $7 before tax, I ended up with blind bagged treasure that included a Wolverine cord-hanger-onner, Guardians of the Galaxy dog tag, a Batman vs. Superman 2 pack of Hubsnaps (coin-flippers, I say), and an armored Batman plushie.
It wasn’t a bad haul for the price, although I’ve forgotten where most of that stuff is already. Tom King scared me out of giving the Batman plushie to my baby, so I didn’t do that. I did take one hubsnap coin flipper into work to help settle flippable arguments, but the rest is scattered amongst junk drawers or boxes in the basement where I hide my poor financial decisions from my wife–also known as the homes of my / toy and comic collections :-).
It was a fine haul. I had lots of fun and pleasant memories as a result. I will most likely never find a use for the stuff. One day I’ll stumble onto it and smile before I give it away to someone else. Or the garbage. Or the people who find stuff in the garbage.
So the other day when I walked into Target and I saw the $9.99 Superhero blind bag, with warm fuzzy memories of the last go round, I snapped it up. It helped that the wife wasn’t around to tell me no and the kids weren’t there for me to worry about setting a bad example. I could be all alone in my poor decision making, just the way I like it.
It also helped that this is still technically under $10. That’s a magic number. Anything significantly over $10, and those are purchases I consider seriously before making. If it’s under $10, that’s basically the cost of eating out for lunch, and we all know I could stand to skip a few lunches.
The first bag promised a minimum of $20 value for $7. This second bag promised a $25 minimum value for $10. That ratio did not seem like a big upgrade. I’m spending an extra $3 for a $5 bump. When I crunched the numbers, 20/7=2.85. 25/10=2.5. That’s a difference of .35! .35 what I don’t really know. Minimum dollars valued over actual dollars spent, perhaps.
I’m losing out on .35 dollars valued over dollar spent this time around!
That’s hard hitting analysis you’re only going to find here, folks. Primarily because I don’t think it makes a dramatic point, but still. You’re paying more this time around for a lesser advertised value. Know that going in.
The big key is that lesser advertized value–could NECA actually turn that into a higher perceived value? That’s what we’re going to find out.
More numbers before we go too far: The last bag contained 4 separate items for $7. I gave a final evaluation at between $18-21 for the contents. The fun cannot be measured by science. This bag, which costs almost 43% more (I’m having a lot of fun with the calculator today), also only contains 4 separate items! The same number of items! For more! Duh duh duhhhhhh! Will it account for 43% more fun?
The mystery was driving me crazy. Would it include the same types of items? Am I going to be spinning in hubsnaps? Even cooler plushies, perhaps? Let’s not wait any longer.
Up first outta the bag–a Deadpool lanyard!
Not just a Deadpool Lanyard, but a Deadpool sticker and rubber keychain Deadpool symbol packed onto a lanyard! One side has the Deadpool logo and symbol and the other side 3 versions of Deadpool! There’s one Clayton Crain version, one that I think is Steve Dillon, and one Rob Liefeld. This is pretty cool.
I go to a lot of places where lanyards are a thing–comic conventions, gaming conventions, and oh yeah, my actual real job wants us to wear our ID badges displayed on lanyards around our necks —although I usually just keep mine dangling out of my pocket because I don’t want to feel like the man is strangling me all day–the point is that lanyards are useful and have value. This one even has 2 buckles, one for the ‘around the neck safety precaution so you don’t choke on your own lanyard’ purposes, and one for detaching the plastic card holder in case you’ve stored your keys there, too. Neat! I’ve seen these retail for around $10 individually. I’ll give it that because of the sticker and plastic thingy and the buckles. That’s a good start.
Up next, a Lootcrate Marvel Dormammu pin!
You may know Dormommu from the Dr. Strange movie (“I’ve come to bargain,” Strange tells him). Maybe you’ve played his level on Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance 3, or listened to the Ghosts of the Stratosphere podcast where we reviewed the time Dormamu haunted Dr. Strange via a combination of Baron Mordo and TV screen broadcasting from the dark dimension because…well I don’t know why. Maybe you just know Dormammu as one of the few characters who never got a decent 4 inch action figure during the heyday of the Marvel Universe line. That’s where this pin comes in. While pins are neat, I don’t exactly have a place to pin bad guys. I accidentally left all my jean jackets back in the 80’s. However, I can use this pin, a black shadowbox, and a little bit of paper to create… Dormammu TV for my action figures! Now the kiddo can have Dormammu possessing things left and right since he knows him from the video game, and 95% of all the other characters from that game have 4 inch action figures! It’s a stretch, I know. It is a really cool pin. If you like pins, this is a pin you might like. I’ll give it a value of $5 because while I don’t understand pins, I did find a use for this one.
Holy cannoli, I just looked on Amazon and the going rate for that Dormammu pin is $22.30. That’s crazy. Even if you are going to turn it into Dormammu tv, it’s not worth that much. We’ll stay at $5.
Next we have a Batman, Stealth Batwing Metal Keychain.
Initially I thought it was a cooler Bat logo insignia, but I’ll take the Batwing. I still remember Michael Keaton flying that puppy up against the moon to make his own batsignal. Another Lootcrate exclusive, the batwing key chain has a little bit of weight to it, and lots of sharp metal points that make this seem like a poor choice for a keychain–at least for keys you’re going to carry around in your pocket.
Put this bad boy on your backup set of keys. That way, you’re constantly punishing yourself with sharp metal jabs in your pocket, thereby encouraging you to find your real keys or suffer eternally without them. Or use it for self defense against would be attackers. Stabbwith the keys and add injury with tiny metal scratchy parts on your follow-through!
This is almost a neat idea, but very stupid if you’re going to use it for its advertised purpose.
I’ll put the value smack dab between 5 and 10 bucks, settling at $8 for this cool looking pointy metal pocket stabber of a keychain. Some people are into that sort of thing.
So we’re 3 items in. We’ve got a minimum of $25 bucks of value to be had. The first three have added up to $23 if we’re considering what might be reasonable retail prices. It’s a pretty low bar, but let’s see what’s the last thing in the bag!
Seriously. It’s Captain America shield socks. Traditionally, I’m weird about socks. Early in my thirties I gave up on the unnecessary complications that socks bring to our lives.
Hear me out: They’re a pain to match, the left ones always end up getting lost in the dryer, and the stress of wearing the wrong socks to an occasion all left me fed up. Seriously, try playing tennis in a pair of fancy argyles–you’re going to slide everywhere and get yourself injured. Plus, I had a propensity to hang onto socks for way too long (they’re still good–until they’re not, but you’re invited into someone’s house and now you’re wearing your holiest toe-shamers). It’s all too much, so I threw all of my socks away. All of em except for one pair of plain black dress socks in case I ever have a job interview. You don’t want people knowing your crazy sock philosophies in a job interview; it’ll scare ‘em off. The goal is to knock their socks off during interviews, and you can’t do that if they’re busy looking at your socks.
So I went to the store, and bought 2 12 packs of white crew socks. That’s enough to not worry about having to wash socks for the better part of a month, and once you do wash ‘em, you don’t need to pair them up. They’re all paired. You just need to find two. Then, I’ll supplement as needed until my preferred sock makers change the designs. At that point, I throw all of my socks out again, start with 2 new packs and whole lotta less stress. If somebody’s going to make fun of me for wearing white socks–let ‘em. I don’t really care, and it makes them seem petty. And I’m just as prepared to wear my dressy shoes or my tennis shoes, comfortable knowing that my feet are in good hands. Wait, not hands–good feet covers.
So now I have 2 pairs of non-white crew socks, A black pair for job interviews and a pair of Captain America socks. For crazy sock days. For celebrating our country. For no good reason whatsoever. I’m a sucker for the iconography, and Cap’s shield is as classy and patriotic as it comes. They’re sock size 10-13, and I fit in that range. The red tips and toes are classy. The only way they could make cooler Captain America socks would be if they made them look like those crazy pirate boots Cap wore for a really long time. Nobody wants that, though. These are a fine alternative. I’ll give these a value of about $7.
So to recap: the two Lootcrate exclusive items have been neat, but useless, as items you order from Lootcrate should be. The lanyard is surprisingly utilitarian, thanks to the silliness of the worlds I choose to inhabit. And the socks, oh the socks. Sure, they violate one of my basic principles designed to make life easier, but they’re so darned cool, an exception is begging to be made. They’re the perfect combination of form and function, serving both as decorative (Halloween is coming up), celebratory (the fourth of July will be here before you know it, and ridiculous (they’re socks with Captain America shields on them). Everything adds up to a $30 retail value, and I feel that’s being generous to the consumer, for a measly $9.99.
Comparing both boxes is tough, because they are both valued at roughly 3 times their cost. The $7 bag was between $18-21, and $10 costs out around $30. The difference this time around is that I’m fairly certain I’ll be wearing the socks, and I’m likely to take advantage of the lanyard, too. Dormammu’s found his own ridiculous use, and the batwing is already dangling from my backup keys. That’ll teach me to misplace my regular keychain!
Did I lose out on my .35 dollars valued over dollars spent difference? Nah.
Most of the stuff from the last bag I enjoyed but haven’t quite put to much use yet. There’s so much more utility out of this bag of random stuff, I can’t help to recommend this. Maybe I just got a good draw, but if this is any indicator, these bags have quality, useful stuff as well as ridiculous but still really cool stuff. If you’ve got a spare tenner laying about, or if you’re one to easily succumb to the temptation to waste money on a blind bag of randomness, stop by Target and pick one of these NECA $9.99 blind bags up before word gets out and they’re all gone.
Until next time, I’ll be on the hunt for more fun ways to succumb to my proclivity for pointless purchases! Maybe even while wearing my fancy Cap socks! Excelsior!